Vermont Gov. Phil Scott became the nation’s first Republican state chief executive this week to support congressional Democrats’ formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, saying Congress possesses a “solemn responsibility” to hold the president accountable.
Scott, a staunch critic of President Trump, argued in a Wednesday statement that while an impeachment probe is “appropriate,” lawmakers on Capitol Hill must further investigate the matter before reaching a conclusion whether to oust the president. His comments came a day prior to the House intelligence committee released an anonymous federal employee’s so-called “whistleblower” complaint against President Trump, which is now at the center of a congressional impeachment investigation.
The complaint, submitted by an unidentified intelligence official, addresses President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the president suggested the Kiev leader to investigate the son of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The complaint claims White House officials were concerned enough about the contents of the phone call that they moved to “lock down” the record of the communication. The whistle-blower was concerned President Trump was “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country,” it states.
“The interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the president’s main domestic political rivals,” the complaint states. “The president’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.”
However, according to a transcript of the call released by the White House on Wednesday, its contents show no pressure for Ukraine to probe the Biden family, and President Zelensky denied he felt any pressure to look into the former vice president or his son, Hunter Biden.
As Breitbart News reported earlier this year, Biden forced out former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin as he was investigating an energy company called Burisma Holdings, which was paying Biden handsomely as a member of its board. The former vice president even boasted to the Council of Foreign Relations last year that he had threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid unless the prosecutor was fired. (He did not tell the audience about his son’s role.)
Nonetheless, following the transcript’s release House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) re-upped her support for a formal impeachment probe, accusing the president of using “taxpayer money to shake down other countries for the benefit of his campaign.”
“Either the President does not know the weight of his words or he does not care about ethics or his constitutional responsibilities,” the speaker added. “The transcript and the Justice Department’s acting in a rogue fashion in being complicit in the President’s lawlessness confirm the need for an impeachment inquiry. Clearly, the Congress must act.”
Republican panel members, including Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA), blasted Democrats during the hearing, accusing them of carrying out a political smear-job against the president.
“I want to congratulate the Democrats on the rollout of their latest information warfare operation against the president, and their extraordinary ability once again to enlist the mainstream media in their campaign,” said Nunes, before adding, “we’ve been treated to an unending parade of press releases, press conferences, and fake news stories.”
Despite congressional Democrats rushing towards impeachment at blinding speeds, President Trump and his allies appear none-too-worried, suggesting it will help the Republicans in 2020.
“The left has officially lost their minds — they are so fixated on their imaginary impeachment that they are getting nothing else done,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Breitbart News. “266 days in power and what have Nancy Pelosi and the Socialist Democrats accomplished? Absolutely nothing.”
The UPI contributed to this report.